Monday, January 31, 2011

Jan-30: Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Perm

Slip Sliden' Away

While riding, I had lots of time to mentally compose lines and paragraphs about the ride; however, I accidentally wrote an over-long e-mail to MikeD, the KLL route owner, intending to only inform him that I had completed the ride.  However that e-mail will make an excellent, concise ride report, with just two additions: 

I often tell the "Irregulars" that they should be sure to do the Assault on Flat Rock course (one of our favorites) at least once each season, and especially in the winter, because you can see things in the winter that you can't see when the leaves are in full foilage.  This was my first winter ride on KLL -- early November here is not winter; it is "leaf watching season" (although Nov-06 was more winter-like than it was on this Jan-30 ride).  I make a similar comment about KLL:  be sure to do it in the winter as you can see things that are not visable at other times. 

There is a short bit included below about an encounter I had with a dawg on Mountain Rd.  That was my second successful jab of the day.  Earlier, I forget where, I delivered a slightly harder right jab to the head of a pursuing dawg.  That dawg instantly called off the chase and put its lips back over its teeth.  I wish that I had delivered as good a "jab" to each as I did to Roscoe last September.  

On to the report.
Hey, Mike, 

Just a note to let you know that I completed KLL at 5:46 yesterday evening. 

As both stores near the Fire Station open at 8 or after, and the station was conspicuous in its darkness (all the occupants must have been asleep), I just wrote 7:00 on the card and started (at 7:20).  The mind was determined yesterday morning, but the body was very hesitant when the alarm went off.  As I was the only one riding, I didn't worry that I might start a bit late, but just kept forcing the body through the motions -- foreshadowing my day on the bike. 

I have the morning and afternoon receipts from Oxford (which store cash register is still on Daylight Savings time, and about 5 minutes fast). 

I have a receipt from the store at Grissom (Lawrence & Bruce Garner roads), stamped 5:11 pm.  Ha!  I had the store clerk write the correct time (5:20) in the Stony Hill finish control box. 

I wrote in the 5:46 arrival time at Stony Hill in the control box opposite the official finish control box. 

I certainly hope that will suffice.  (The handwritten times from the clerks and by me are certainly more accurate than any of the receipts.  Statement not directed at anyone, just a fact.

I'll either mail or (because I worry that the USPS will lose it) drop off the paperwork. 
Hard day on the bike. 

I think I realized in the first three miles why my rides have been getting so hard this last month, particularly the day before.  My seatpost has been slowly slipping into the frame since at least the Jan-15 Showdown ride with BobB and Ricochet Robert.  I think it stopped slipping slowly and started slipping quickly while doing Dean's Get 'Er Dunn on Saturday -- the front wheel did not fit easily where it always does when I put the bike in the back of my CRV.  When I threw my leg-over on Sunday, it didn't seem right.  Stopping after 3 miles, opposite Rock Springs Ch Rd, I found that the seatpost was at least 2 cm too low!  No wonder my quads have been uncooperative of late.  (I reckon the COLD and COLD HEADWINDS have also played a part.) 

I didn't get the seatpost issue fully corrected until the control just east of Oxford.  That's what controls are for, right?  But the early miles on top of the damage inflicted doing Get 'Er Dunn the day before meant I had little power in my legs all day.  My average speed was okay at the dam, considering I'd been riding into a slight headwind and I was expecting to ride faster from the dam to Clarksville and from just north of Oxford to the finish, but my average kept dropping and dropping.  9 hours, 14 minutes on the bike.  I compensated pretty well by not dallying at the controls, taking just enough time to eat what I purchased, while chatting with the store clerks (always good to take a couple minutes to reinforce good relations, right?) -- 9 hrs, 14 min on the bike versus 10 hrs, 26 min actual time from actual start to actual finish leaves 1 hr, 12 min for three official control stops plus a 15 minute break in Boydton plus some other stoppage for lights and stop signs and three or four 60-second stops and a particular dawg encounter.  (I recognize official time will be 10 hrs, 46 minutes.) 

By Grassy Creek, I was cursing the fool that showed "Stovall Mtn" to you; but I can't imagine anyone giving me any sympathy on that particular score.  [For the non-locals, and even some of the locals, I provide this link, from a time prior to me joining RUSA, so that you will better understand the previous sentence.]  In the event, I have to agree with Dean's appraisal of Mountain Rd: it is a great road for cycling.  Even the steep bit at the top was not bad except that I finally met one of the dawgs about which I've heard.  Just after the steep part began, the dawg came hard charging from the left.  I unclipped and managed to deliver a light blow to the dawg's jaw; that was enough to send the dawg back into the protection of its yard where it continued to raise a ruckus. 

After delivering the left jab, I came to a full stop.  I have re-started from a stand-still on steeper climbs (the road up to the top of Hanging Rock State Park comes to mind), but when I re-started ... my front wheel was suddenly jack-knifed and the bike was falling over to the right ... a split moment of panic, I didn't have time to think ... and I must have jerked the front up, straightend the front wheel and gotten the bike perpendicular in one smooth unthinking motion, because I didn't crash and I was moving forward.  I thought "cool, I didn't crash and hurt myself."  It is always nice when unknown skills suddenly emerge at just the right moment. 

Good day on the bike.

Sorry for the long e-mail. I think I just drafted my blog post. 
Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent; 131.3 m.; 9 hrs, 14 min in-motion; 14.2 mph; rando-time: 10 hrs, 46 min elapsed on the clock. 

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 35 min; 14.4 mph.
YTD tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 35 min; 14.5 mph.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jan-29: Get 'Er Dunn 102 km Perm Populaire

A Veritable "Stroll in the Park"

Compared to the Jan-09th ride and especially the Jan-22nd ride on this course, today was a veritable "stroll in the park".  Seven days ago, Dean and I did this same route, but with gloomy overcast skies most of the day, with a NW wind (i.e., a headwind "coming home") and the temperature at the end was 34 degrees F -- that was the high for the day.  Today, Dean and I did this route under clear, blue skies (not a single cloud in the sky), with an increasing SW wind (i.e., an increasingly strong tailwind "coming home"), and the temperature before the start was above freezing and the temperature at the end was 57 degrees F.  What a difference the change in the wind direction made!  What a difference 23 degrees made!!  What a difference bright sunshine made!!!

Everything went smoothly from the beginning.  Well, no.  Someone ... I'm not going to indicate whom ... but it was not me ... forgot an important piece of equipment.  We returned to the start having accumulated approximately 1.5 bonus miles -- not much in the grand scheme of things AND not much compared to bonus miles that many have collected on various rides. 

After someone found and put on his important piece of equipment, things went smoothly. 

Gosh, how nice to ride in fewer clothes and ... not be cold. 

It seemed to me that in almost no time at all, we were going past the "shutters" house, and heading directly into Erwin and over to Dunn.  I think Dean may have thought that it took a bit more than "almost no time all"; I think he was still tired from the tough ride he did on Friday, pulling mules with Maria, Alan, Bryan and Steven .  Dean did say that they had "pushed the pace" on Friday, with almost everyone, including the route owner, collecting, or trying to collect, bonus miles. 

Our conversation quickly morphed onto other various subjects, including a possible "north side" permanent populaire.  However, due -- I am sure -- entirely to his fatigue left over from the Friday ride, conversation soon turned into more of a monologue than a conversation.  After he'd heard enough of my blabbering to last him a fortnight, Dean started repeatedly dropping me off his front.  Smart move.

I filled my water bottle in Erwin with caramel-colored, fizzy, sugar "water".  Dean did not.  Not even the Diet version that he claims he sometimes uses to refill his bottles.  (I.e., I rode the return leg on a caffeine and sugar "high".)

That's enough of a report, except to confirm that it was a great day to ride on a not-flat course with excellent company -- even if he was tired.

One last thing ... today's ride put Dean over the 1000 km mark for 2011.  Already.  Congratulations, Dean!

Get 'Er Dunn 102 km Permanent Populaire; 65.4 m.; 4 hrs, 34 min in-motion; 14.2 mph;  rando-time:  5 hrs, 37 min elapsed on the clock. 

Jan tot: __8 rides; __540.1 m.; _37 hrs, 21 min; 14.5 mph.
YTD tot: __8 rides; __540.1 m.; _37 hrs, 21 min; 14.5 mph.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jan-23: 6 Forks, Ghoston, Peed, MVC: A Loop ?

Where Did They Go?

I parked at BJP and began to get ready to ride. 
Then my mother called.
You have to talk to your mom.

Putting on my shoes, the phone rings again.  11:49 11:40.
Who is calling me NOW?
"Hello.  Martin, this is Harvey.  Will you guys wait for me if I'm a little late?"
"Maybe."  Click.

Finished putting on my shoes and something(s) else -- maybe my shell.
11:53 11:49.  Called Dave to mention Harvey's phone call.
Laurie answered.
"Is Dave still there?"
"No, he left about 10 minutes ago."
"Never mind.  Thanks anyway, Laurie."

I've got too many clothes on.
I remove the Polar Fleece top, and put the shell back on.
Helmet on.  Gloves on.
Approx 11:58, I roll out, headed to PUE.
Approx 12:02, reach the corner of Pleasant Union Ch Rd and Six Forks Rd.
On to PUE.

Saw only two cyclists on the two miles across to PUE.
Barely saw them as they were both in full ninja garb in a heavily shaded stretch of road.
One called out to me. 
I think to myself:  "Who was that?  Oh, I bet that was ... Donna."

Arrive at PUE.  I recognize two cars of people that started riding at 9 -- when it was about 22 degrees F.
I recognize Snapper's car.
Maybe I'll call them.
Darn.  My phone is still in the pocket of the Polar Fleece. 
Which is in my car.

What to do? 
I ride back to my car.  Get phone.
Someone had called.
Turned out it was Snapper. 
But he didn't leave a message.

So I called him and left a message:
"Hey, what route did you guys decide to do?  What time did you start?"
I looked at my watch after I left the message.  12:22.
I looked at the cycle confuser to see how long I had been riding.  21 minutes.
My estimates of when I had started seem validated.
There is no way they could have left PUE at Noon, or anything later than 11:52, and I wouldn't have seen them.

Oh, well. 
I decide to ride NC BR #1 to Rock Springs Rd, and take that back down to Old Weaver and back to BJP.
Unfortunately, there had been some "rubbage" against a particular part of the body on Saturday.
I could feel that there was more "rubbage" today.
Don't need to turn that into an abrasion or worse.
I been there before.
Once was once too often.

So I turned onto Ghoston, then Peed and MVC.
Looked at the clock on the cycle confuser -- 12:58.
Hmmn, maybe IvaN is there getting ready to ride.
He was.
We chatted.
Wished him good riding.

Rode back to BJP.
Short rides are nice sometimes.
Sometimes, short rides are necessary.
And sometimes, short rides are the smart thing to do.
Ricochet and Ags rode starting at 9 am.
IvaN told me that they got back to PUE after he arrived.
Noted that Ags looked COLD.
He didn't mention Ricochet or Robert.
Probably he was still ENTHUSIASTIC.

Maybe I'll get a report from Ricochet.
If so, maybe I'll append it.
Maybe I'll get a report from Snapper on his ride with Lt. Dave (and possibly Lee).
If so, maybe I'll append it.

BJP:  --> PUE --> BJP:  6 Forks - G-P-MVC; 15.4 m.; 1 hr, 6 min in-motion; 13.9 mph. 

Jan tot: __7 rides; __474.7 m.; _32 hrs, 47 min; 14.5 mph.
YTD tot: __7 rides; __474.7 m.; _32 hrs, 47 min; 14.5 mph.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jan-22: Get 'Er Dunn 102 km Perm Populaire

I Jus' Wanna' Git 'Er Done

Somewhat Very foolishly, I called Dean to ask if he was doing one of his Populaires on Saturday.  His response:  "I am if I have someone to ride with."  "Okay," said I, "see you in time to ride at 10." 

Neither of us were interested in spending 10 hours in the cold (central NC standards) with a stiff NE breeze / wind.  Each of us figured we could handle 5 hours.  (Note:  2 or 3 hours would have been even better, but RUSA approved routes don't come that short -- not at the pace Dean and I ride.)

10 am start.  Wind at our backs.  Sun hiding behind some fairly thick clouds. 
A quick trip to Dunn.  Only my feet were chilled. 
I hadn't bothered to zip up my jersey or polar fleece or shell.

From Dunn to Erwin, mostly a cross wind.
Actually, mostly a cross wind all the way to the "shutters house".
Then a turn directly into the COLD STIFF NE wind.
Latex (?) gloves under my glove liners inside my long-fingers, my hands and fingers were warm all the way back.
I did have "prune fingers" at the end, though.
Legs, mid-section, chest, shoulders, head, arms -- all warm.
Feet -- that's another story. 
Towards the end, I just wanted to "hammer it home" and "git 'er done."

Advance apologies to any "northern randos" that may read this.
Forecast high was 36 to 38 degrees F.
Dean informed me, at the end, at approx 3:40 pm, that it was only 34 F.
(My Irregular cycling buddy, Lt. Dave, told me that it only got to 32 F in Bayleaf.)
Not the coldest ride Dean has ever done -- by a long shot.
But cold enough for me.  (And, today, it was cold enough for Dean, too.)

To the "North Carolina" (in quotes because we "count" some Virginians and South Carolinians as "North Carolinians" for some purposes, such as when they do North Carolina brevets) randos that did (or are still doing) Tony's 200, 300 or 400 km brevets today:  HATS OFF to you -- but you are wayyyy too crazy.

See you on the road ...

Get 'Er Dunn 102 km Perm Populaire; 63.8 m.; 4 hrs, 32 min in-motion; 14.0 mph; rando-time:  5 hrs, 37 min.  

Jan tot: __6 rides; __459.3 m.; _31 hrs, 39 min; 14.5 mph.
YTD tot: __6 rides; __459.3 m.; _31 hrs, 39 min; 14.5 mph.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Rando Way

After a recent rando ride, one of the non-rando "Irregulars" (he did do two 200 km brevets last year) sent me this:

Why is my butt sore, master?  
 _ _
Beneath your butt, a Brooks saddle, that is not. 


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jan-16: Assault on Flat Rock (AFR)

Fast and Furious on the AFR, Or
A Friend-In-Need is a Friend-In-Need

Since each of my quads were radiating pain when my "Lucky" Saturday ride ended, and continued doing so for the entire evening and night and were still painful Sunday morning, I left a couple messages for those I understood were riding with Lt. Dave on Sunday.  The thrust of said messages:  "if I'm not there at wheels-away, don't wait for me; IF I ride, I know I won't be able to keep up, so I probably won't do the same course, and even if I do, I am not going to try to keep up, because I won't be able to".

I arrived at PUE, intending to do my "spin-out-the-legs / TT course", but starting from PUE instead of BJP, and therefore shortening the course to about 25.4 miles.  I figured I could get through that regardless how bad my legs felt ... and with good luck, my legs might feel better afterward.  I had prepped the bike and needed to put on only one cycling shoe, my helmet and my gloves before starting my solo ride -- in other words, I was about two minutes from starting my ride when ... the "security guard / patrol" told me I was not allowed to be in the PUE parking lot!!  I've been starting rides from there for at least six or seven years ... others have been riding from there for much longer than that ... this was the FIRST time I had seen any evidence of "security"; I'd never heard of any such situation previously.  Since there was a County Deputy Sheriff parked on the other side of the lot, I loaded my bike back into my car to leave.  However, before leaving, I called Lt. Dave to let him know what had just happened; he was incredulous.  During the one minute I was on the phone with Dave, Smitty pulled into the parking lot; I got out of my car to tell him what had just happened.  While informing him, the other "Irregulars" began to arrive.  While they were debating what to do, I said, "well, that security guard spoke to me; she will remember my car; and given the Deputy that was parked over the way when she spoke to me ... I'm driving over to BJP and will ride from there."  The guys eventually decided to ride from PUE. 

I left BJP, now intent on doing the entire "spin-out-the-legs" course.  I was about a mile into my ride when I saw six assorted riders ... I didn't recognize them until one called out "are you going to follow us?"  I made a traffic impeded U-turn and set out to catch the six motley crew -- two had yellow jackets, one purple jacket, one deep blood red or reddish-maroon jersey, one had a jersey color I can't recall, and the last I can't recall the color or whether their top layer was a jersey or a jacket -- one or two had shorts only, one had knee-warmers, and three or four had full-length pants or leg-warmers -- quite a variance in approach for the same temp / wind conditions.  They waited for me at the corner of Pleasant Union Ch Rd (PUC Rd) and Six Forks Rd (you can easily find that location on the map linked-to above).

At the corner, I asked what course they were doing.  The answer:  "simple Assault on Flat Rock."   I told them "I certainly don't have the legs to climb, so I won't be able to keep up, especially on a course such as AFR, and won't try."  Lt. Dave suggested I just "follow along to Gordon Moore or NC-56, and turn around there; that would be mostly flat."  So ... that's what I set out to do.  LT chatted with me (asking about my rando ride the day before) on the flat bridge across the (very low) side-arm of Falls Lake that Six Forks crosses between PUC Rd and NC-98, but he bridged up to the other five before reaching the stop light at the highway.  I caught the group at the stop light ... because they had to wait for the light; but by the time we were crossing the deep channel of the Neuse River hidden beneath Falls Lake on New Light Rd, I was losing contact with the crew.  The only thing I had going for me was an excellent cadence.

The first UP northbound on New Light away from Falls Lake is not too steep ... I began to think that maybe I could keep in contact with the crew if I could keep the cadence up.  During the slight respite after the first UP, I realized that my legs were feeling better ... the higher cadence and the presence of some climbs seemed to be counter-acting the stiffness from the previous day's flat course.  And ... I determined that if I didn't lose too much ground, I could probably catch the guys on the flatter parts of New Light and Bruce Garner roads.  I kept the cadence up, even though I was slow on anything UP, and even though my quads were complaining a bit.

Before reaching Old Weaver Trail, I lost sight of the crew.  I almost threw in the towel.  But the fact that I'd actually lost sight of them ... seemed to kindle some flames down in the ego department -- I decided I was going to catch the crew, regardless of how much it hurt, even if it took me all the way to the end of Gordon Moore Rd, or even required the downhills on Wes Sandling Rd ... I was going to catch them -- not "chase" them, with its implication that I might not catch them -- I WAS GOING TO CATCH THEM -- no matter how much it hurt -- after all, I had twelve 200 km rando rides in my legs the last 3 1/2 months and none of them had any -- I knew I could get "home" regardless of how much my legs were hurting when I caught them -- I AM GOING TO CATCH THEM!!  (Btw, for those that don't know, I usually say something such as "I don't have a competitive ego, anymore" and / or "well, I do have a competitive ego, but I usually put it in my pocket and don't act upon it."  {County Lines aside, of course.})  Somewhere still inside Wake County, I again spied the tail of the crew ... actually, it was one of the two yellow-jacketed riders that had fallen off the back ... at first I couldn't determine which ... then, based on the leg action, I knew it was not "the Duke" ... it was BigWaveDave

Still within Wake County, I saw that both yellow-jackets were sometimes off the back.  The "main body" of the crew seemed to pull away slightly, apparently "sprinting" for the Granville County Line.  But then they seemed to possibly slow up to let Wave and Duke get back on.  On the flattish Bruce Garner Rd in Granville County, I was clawing my way closer to the group ... my hands on the hoods in a semi-aggressive riding posture, body calm, legs relaxed, but hammering out an excellent cadence.  [The guys encountered a particular solo rider coming southbound on Bruce Garner; and probably 30 seconds later, I crossed paths with him; Lee was heading for home; he was under orders from "the boss" and had to be ready to go to a function by 1:30 pm whereas several of those whom I was in the process of catching couldn't ride until nearly noon.]  I noticed that either or both Snapper and Ags were sometimes with Duke and Wave, slightly off the back of the "main body" of the crew.  By the time I reached Woodland Ch Rd, I was rapidly gaining on the regrouped crew.  I began to think and then was sure I would catch them at about May Store Rd.  I determined that if I caught them there, I was going to ride around them all and use the slight DOWN to take the Frankling County Line! 

Then the front of the crew (Lt. Dave and Smitty) exploded off the front of the other four, somewhat dragging Snapper and Ags with them; I later learned that Lt. Dave knew where the CL was, Smitty didn't, but when LT attacked, Smitty went with him; LT took the CL honors.  As the slight UP from the Franklin County Line to Pokomoke began, I had virtually pulled even with Wave; since the guys would regroup in Pokomoke, I decided that I had caught them and reduced my effort up to the stop sign at Pokomoke.  At the Pokomoke stop sign, LT told me "when [he] saw [my] cadence, [he] knew [I] was 'in' for the entire ride."  I'm not sure exactly WHERE he meant he saw my cadence ... but the only time he could have gotten a clear look at me was about 12 miles earlier, when still south of NC-98.  But ... I don't know ... he is very astute about picking up on other's riding styles, etc. ... I don't know. 

On Gordon Moore Rd, Snapper told me that everyone was sure that I had turned around at Grissom ... but then word was passed along that I was still behind them ... and catching them. The seven of us zipped across Gordon Moore and zig-zagged onto Wes Sandling ... Snapper tried to add-on as he tried very hard to miss the turn onto Wes Sandling.  Actually, he did miss it; but since he'd asked and I'd told him, just before we reached the end of Gordon Moore, to turn right and then immediately left, I didn't try to rein him in until he was clearly missing the turn -- I never asked, but I'd wager that he was headed for Olive Chapel Rd another 1/10-th of mile east on NC-56 (and on the other side of a little "bump-up") -- we sometimes take Gordon Moore to NC-56 to Olive Chapel ... but those are longer rides.

Down into the first creek crossing on Wes Sandling with gusto in order to "pop" the other side; then down again in order to slog up the second UP on Wes Sandling.  Just after the second UP started, I asked Smitty if he was going to challenge LT for the next county line.  Smitty inquired as to its location.  "At the top of this climb."  He took off, bridged to LT and whomever (Snapper or Ags) was with LT, and reportedly got revenge for the previous CL.  True to my pre-ride evaluation of my climbing ability for the day ... I had no climbing speed ... all six got to the WesSandling-GroveHill / GroveHill-JohnSandling intersection before I did [had a google-street-view here, but google seemed messed up, so I took it out].  Everyone was waiting for me, milling about, taking a drink, and discussing whether they'd make it back to PUE by Snapper's 3 pm back-end time-limit.  I looked at my watch ... 1:19 pm ... and decided that standing around was a good way to lose the race against the clock ... so I took off down the big Grove Hill descent.  When Snapper passed me (he is about the only one in the crew that can descend faster than me), I told him to be aware of the possibility that there might be a lot of sand at the bottom of the hill, on the tight curve, and onto the bridge.  (I was mindful of what LT, Lee and I had found 13 months earlier at the bottom of that hill when we rode the AFR about a week after a snow-storm.)  There was no sand.  Everyone except Snapper (who was already ahead) and Wave passed me as soon as the long climb on Grove Hill began; Wave took a bit longer. 

Everyone was waiting at the next stop sign.  I rolled through (to curses from the crew) and kept going.  This next couple sentences will surprise JayJay (if she reads this):  I recall nothing of the mile or so across the flat section on Grove Hill Rd to the turn onto Flat Rock Rd.  I recall nothing of the 1.4 mile descent on Flat Rock Rd; and the only things I recall from the 1.4 mile ascent on Flat Rock Rd are:  1) as the climb began, everyone except Wave passed me as if I were standing still,  2) I could only manage about 5.5 mph on the steep part of the Flat Rock ascent, and  3) on the flatter part of the ascent nearish the top, Ags, panting heavily, commenting that he'd ridden 47 miles the day before and was toast -- he couldn't understand how I could have ridden 200 km the day before AND do the AFR, including riding solo into that north breeze to catch them, on this day.  I told him "practice".

Some of the keen-eyed in the crew had found something interesting near the stop sign atop the ascent -- you know, at the Flat Rock / Grove Hill intersection (not to be confused with the Grove Hill / Flat Rock intersection -- look at the map -- you'll understand). 
LT, Wave, Smitty, Ags, Duke.  Snapper snapped the photo.  I was hiding.
I don't understand why this photo is 90 degrees off kilter.
I edited the darn thing so it would be top-side-up.
We zipped across Grove Hill Rd - Suitt's Store Rd, Old Franklinton Rd, Suitt's Store Rd again (no stop at the Western Wear Store), along NC-96 and down the descent on Wayside Farm Rd.  I had been looking forward to testing myself alongside / behind LT, Smitty, Harvey and Ags on Bruce Garner - New Light Rd, but during the climb up to Bruce Garner Rd, I looked back for BigWaveDave after the others had passed me as if I were standing still, and saw that Wave needed a friend a lot more than I needed to hammer it in.  Riding in with Wave allowed for some good chit-chat (don't ask what we chatted about ... I don't recall) and we eventually collected "the Duke".  Reports are that everyone with tight time-frames made it home before their kitchen pass expired and / or in time to meet other obligations. 

I believe that everyone had fun.  Even Wave, who acknowledged that 20-mile neighborhood rides at an easy pace was not enough to keep up with the crew, especially as frisky as several of them were on Sunday. 

One more thing.  Bob "Duke" S.  His first ride since June or July.  He was an animal.  If he gets back to riding his usual 3 times every 2 months, he will be an ANI-MAL, especially as he now has clipless pedals for the first time evah'.

And ... one last thing.  Two "Irregular" rides this weekend.  I was only on one of them.  But, and here is the best part, I didn't have to organize either of them.  :-)

BJP:  Assault on Flat Rock; 43.4 m.; 2 hrs, 53 min in-motion; 15.0 mph.  (Although this ends up looking like a slower ride, it was FAST and FURIOUS for me, except for the climbing.)

Jan tot: __5 rides; __395.5 m.; _27 hrs, _7 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: __5 rides; __395.5 m.; _27 hrs, _7 min; 14.6 mph.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jan-15: Showdown in Black Creek 204 km Permanent

Just Lucky, I Guess

On Monday, Jan-10, "Biker Bob" e-mailed me explaining that Saturday would be has last chance to get in his "R-ride" for January ... would I be interested in doing the Coffee Run with him?  I was somewhat worried about what the condition of the roads south of Raleigh / Durham would be since the main method of clearing snow off the road is ... melting.  I responded that if Showdown would work for him, I could probably talk new RUSA member Robert into joining us.  THEN I looked at the forecast for Saturday.  20 degrees F for the morning low!!  I've never ridden in THAT, and I don't have the gear for it, either.

Bob replied that Showdown would work for him, as would KLL or Triple-L.  Based on the snow reports, I figured that the roads of KLL and LLL would likely be worse than the Coffee Run or the Showdown.  I sent an e-mail to NC 2010 Rookie of the Year, Tim, asking road conditions down Wilson way.   I also sent an e-mail to Bob be-moaning the low temps for Saturday morning ... I would have to think about it.

Tim responded that the roads down east were absolutely clear -- no snow or ice.

By midweek, Rapid Robert had gotten all enthusiastic about riding and the forecast Saturday low had been revised upward to about 24 F.  I agreed to do Showdown with Bob for his R-13 and Robert for his R-1.

Then Robert, the Ricochet Rabbit e-mailed wondering if our enthusiasm was getting in the way of being rational.  I e-mailed back:  "don't go getting 'all reasonable' on me now, after I've committed to this insanity."  I also called Robert's wife; Angi willingly smacked Robert for me.  Twice.
Bob contacted MikeD and arranged to get the control cards and a group waiver form.  

The actual Saturday morning low may have been a bit more tolerable than what even the last forecast had been ... I haven't actually looked.

We were ready to ride at a couple minutes after the official 7:00 am start time, but it took seemingly forever to get an orange juice and the receipt.  We actually pushed off at 7:12.  But at least I hadn't fallen over in the parking lot.
"The actual start for the last person of the group was a few minutes later as he had to pick himself up from parking lot -- half under his bike, half on top of it.  We won't go into that inglorious moment except to note that I will no longer even consider following the advice to relax the tension in the rear derailleur cable -- the risk is too high for not very much reward."  
Ha!  I finally figured out how to do that "indentation" and gray-scale thing!

Taking it easy, but enjoying the benefit of a somewhat tailwind (and having had one flo-max stop), we reached the "second" control in time to get 10:11 recorded on our cards.  We were closer to the opening than the closing of the control window.  My quads were already in too-much-pain.  Stopping and standing felt worse than riding. 

The second part of the outbound leg included the approximately 17-mile almost all due southbound leg into Black Creek.  One comment:  headwind.  Second comment:  Robert asked me why he would be experiencing his first-ever "sore butt" while riding; he'd never had "sore butt" previously (Robert's adult cycling career began on Apr-24-2010).  I suggested "just your lucky day."  He didn't like that answer.  Later, I suggested maybe he'd done some rigorous training earlier in the week, or maybe the slower pace meant he was sitting on the bike slightly differently, or maybe the lack of ANY notable climbs after the first 13-miles (a first for Robert) had taken a toll.  (After the ride, Bob suggested he "was going to ask him if his saddle was what came on that nice 'gift' bike - it looks like one that is not going to be too comfortable for 'relaxed' riding.")  In the Black Creek store, Micky noted 12:05 pm on our cards.  Almost smack in the middle of the control window. 

We were expecting a nice tailwind from Black Creek to Hornes Church.  Wasn't nearly as nice as hoped / expected.  During this section, I could no longer hide that I was and had been slogging-it-in since at least the "second" control.  Robert asked "what's the problem?"  Quads hurt / feel like they would like to cramp / almost certainly will cramp later tonight after the ride is over.  Robert asked why would that be.  "Just my lucky day, I guess."  Robert still didn't like that answer.  My control card shows 2:00 pm at the "fourth" control (same location as the "second" control); that is 2 hrs, 25 min after the control opened ... 2 hrs flat before the control closed. 

Except for a few miles on Frazier Rd where there was just enough north in our direction to turn the SW wind into a very nice tailwind (Bob commented that he "could go for a couple hours of this"; the "this" being 18 and 19 mph land-speed without too much effort) we had an annoying headwind all the way to Youngsville.  Ricochet was trying to be helpful, but at 135 lbs., he doesn't cast much of a wind-shadow, and besides, it was entirely over in the ditch, anyway.  Somewhere between the "fourth" control and Youngsville, Bob acknowledged that his legs likely felt about the same as mine.  In Youngsville, he further commented that he'd been counting down the miles from 40 miles to the finish.  I had been counting landmarks.  Ricochet had just been bouncing around.

I had to walk the last 40 yards on Thompson Mill Rd to get up to NC-98.  I've walked before.  It is disappointing, but not humiliating. 

Thank-goodness for the newly engineered slopes on NC-98 and Falls of the Neuse Rd.. 

I got off my bike at 5:35.  After putting our bikes away, and changing out of damp / wet tops and changing shoes ... my control card notes 5:50 pm. 

Congrats to Bob on R-13.  Hope the surgery goes well and you can collect R-14 late in February.
Congrats to Ricochet on his first ever RUSA ride for which he will get credit. (Two no-credit brevets last year.)

Non-Obligatory Comment on Receipts:

The McDonald's electronic cash register receipts had the correct time.  I didn't ask Micky for a receipt in Black Creek, but I'm confident that the hand-written receipt(s) that Bob and/or Ricochet may have gotten would have had the correct time ... if Micky wrote the time on the receipt(s); Micky certainly noted the correct time on my control card.  The electronic cash register receipts from the Kwik Pik intermediate control ... are still on daylight savings time; the clerks wrote the correct time on the control cards.  Big finish to this paragraph -- my usual refrain:  "so much for cash register receipts."
One More Thing

Given the wind direction ... we should have done the Coffee Ride ... and had a tailwind for the 100 km homebound leg.

Showdown in Black Creek 204 km Permanent; 127.0 m.; 8 hrs, 50 min in-motion; 14.4 mph; "official" rando-time: 10 hrs, 50 min. 

Jan tot: __4 rides; __352.1 m.; _24 hrs, 14 min; 14.5 mph.
YTD tot: __4 rides; __352.1 m.; _24 hrs, 14 min; 14.5 mph.

Masthead Change

This post is solely for Andy, aka "sag"; he, the creator and maintainor of "RUSA Blogs" and renowned author of "sagittandy" (I don't understand why he has two "t"'s in that name), and HAL-geek creator of a map showing the locations of all Permanents (currently in "Beta" stage).

Why is this post for Andy? 

Answer:  While having dinner with Andy and "I-don't-blog" JayJay after Alan's October 2nd Morrisville 200 km Brevet , Andy pointed out that there was nothing on my blog that indicated WHERE I was located.  So ... I included "(north Raleigh, NC)" as part of the masthead.  I never liked the resulting look, but hadn't figured out how to be informative and have a "look" satisfying to me.  Last night, the solution came to me.  Thus the masthead has been changed, and this post is made.  The post is so that the blog will "pop" to the top of the "RUSA Blogs" list, and Andy will be tricked into checking it out.  Haha. 

See you on the road ... .

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jan-09: Get 'Er Dunn 102 km Permanent Populaire

Great recovEry-camaraderie ride Dunn.
That was, more or less, the suggestion from the Phun Physiologist.

But I'm not sure what he was recovering from.  He didn't ride Saturday.  And the ride on Friday probably counted more as "use it or lose it", which likely meant he had to practice using the gray matter on the route or risk losing the memory of the course.

I'm not sure what JayJay was recovering from, either.  Maybe recovery from not riding since Dec-31st?

What was I supposed to be recovering from?  Dean probably originally thought I'd be doing "big adventure miles" with the "Irregulars" the day before.  Turned out "adventure" yes -- "miles" not so much.  (For those that may be laughing at the quality or toughness of "adventure" from Saturday, one of the Irregulars came away with partial frostbite on both his big toes.  Likely precipitated because of a previous non-cycling frostbite experience ... and, btw, there had been no snow in the forecast for Saturday ... and certainly no wet snow which likely "enhanced" the rapidity of the frostbite.)

Good thing the Sunday ride was also for camaraderie since the apparent need for recovery was small.
We set out from our start location, JayJay leading.  Pretty darn fast for a "lantern rouge" type.  I was 17.5 +/- mph and barely hanging on; sometimes I was in excess of 19 mph, and still barely hanging on.  Then about 5 1/2 miles into the ride, I got a flat.  JayJay left Dean and I to deal with the flat while she rode on (someone suggested that she "dumped" us).  A not-too-long a stop to change the flat (we could have left even sooner if I hadn't stuck my glove in a fork of the small tree against which I initially propped my bike -- when searching for the glove before remounting, Dean eventually looked up from the ground where we'd been fruitlessly looking -- "oh, yeah, now I recall where I put that glove.  Thanks, Dean."

We finally caught up to JayJay in Erwin, at about the 25 +/- mile mark of the course.  (I am not allowed to put in a comment here about JayJay possibly riding so fast because her usual randonneuring partner was not along to slow her down.  Therefore I will not put in a comment that resembles that in any way.  I wonder if I'm allowed to mention props to Andy for his Saturday solo conquest of the Coffee Ride?)

We got to the turn-around control in Dunn at least 75 minutes before the control window would have closed.  We warmed up, ate and drank a little, and set out upon the return leg, stopping at the Erwin control still wayyyy ahead of the closing window.  Luckily the course turns north with a slight northeast tilt after the several miles heading northwest by north after leaving Erwin ... lucky because the COLD wind was out of the north/northwest.  Any body parts that might have been getting slightly chilled on that Old Stage Rd were soon warming up after we stopped heading smack-on into the headwind. 

Although an extremely pretty day, we stopped not at all to take photos of the supposedly empty cotton fields between Erwin and Coats, and again north of Coats.  With a town named "Coats", and Erwin and Dunn being connected by "Denim Drive", it should be easy enough to understand that cotton and textiles were the heart of the economy in the Dunn / Erwin / Coats area.  Were -- because there is little, if any, textile industry left there now.  If you are not catching on, then I suggest you ride with Dean on the route -- he is full of history tidbits about Dunn, Erwin, etc. on his "Get 'Er Dunn" route.  (He is also full of information about the "Spanish Moss" on his "Tar Heel 200" permanent.  I think he also knows a few things about the "Battle of Averasboro".  Hmmn, maybe when the weather warms up a bit, we can get Branson and Dean to lead a Tar Heel ride, and we can all listen to the two of them discuss history tidbits regarding Averasboro.  I know they'd have at least one interested listener -- Branson would have to slow down, though, else I wouldn't be able to keep up.)

With about 7 +/- miles still to cover, JayJay "reverse dumped" Dean and me, telling Dean to finish the route and get the fireplace a-going.  All was going well when with only two miles remaining, I got my second flat of the day.  In retrospect, I'm thinking it was likely a pinch flat due to under-inflation after the first flat.  I had intended to add some air to the tire after reaching the control in Dunn, but spent the time warming my feet and changing from thin smart-wool cycling socks to an old pair of thick wool hiking socks.  (Btw, the thick wool, riding into the wind, did much better than the thin wool, riding with the wind behind.)

So ... Dean lent me a tube, and went on to finish the ride and get the fireplace a-going while I tended to the flat.  I had only been about two minutes when along-comes-JayJay.  I was grateful for her chat while I changed a rear flat for the second time that day.  When finished, we rode into the finish together.  Well, not quite.  I had forgotten to put my long finger outside glove on over the liner before I started riding ... my right hand was COLD in much less than a mile ... eventually I picked up the pace so I could get 'er done and stop the chill from getting worse. 

A lesson for the day:  carefully choose and remember where you put your glove(s) while changing a flat on a cold day.  Another lesson for the day:  a glove in a pocket does darn little for keeping a hand warm; try putting it on.

Fun day riding what was for me the longest / coldest combination ever.  Thank goodness it was bright sunshine all day (well, there was that short period where those thin clouds moved in and took the heat out of the sunshine ... but other than that ... ).  Hearing good laughter helped.  Very enjoyable post-ride chat. 
I wonder if I should re-read the above, and see what it says.  Seriously.  You think I plan these things?

JayJay was the one planning a blog post during the ride.  But then she remembered that she doesn't blog.  Our loss. 

Get 'Er Dunn 102 km Perm Populaire; 63.8 m.; 4 hrs, 49 min in-motion; 13.2 mph;  rando-time:  6 hrs, 18 min. 

Jan tot: __3 rides; __225.1 m.; _15 hrs, 24 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: __3 rides; __225.1 m.; _15 hrs, 24 min; 14.6 mph.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jan-08: IR modified Falls Lake Loop

VERY Gusty, and IT SNOWED !!

Set-up and Cast

The plan was to ride the 47-mile Creedmoor-Grissom route (simple map with profile), but were willing to modify the course if we found icy conditions near Creedmoor.  The night before, we had been expecting snow, but within the city limits of Raleigh, not even rain.  However, just north of town, as close as Bayleaf, there had been precipitation -- Lt. Dave informed that the roads had been icy at 7 am when he'd gone on a fire call. 

Levi and his bro-in-law, Scott, rolled into PUE at 9:47 ... two minutes after published "wheels-away".  Aargh.  We waited.  Local (and tough) randonneuse Lynn had ridden from home (about 7.5 miles), so she rode circles in the parking lot while we waited for the two youngsters to get ready (Levi is 22 years younger than me - Scott is younger still two years older than Levi - they are our youngsters - often, as today, by as much as two decades younger than the next youngest). 

Quickie introductions, a mumbled reminder to ride safely and point out hazards, and we were off at ... I dunno when we actually started. 

Here's a funny.  We had switched to a 9:45 start so that we wouldn't be starting at the same time as the "B" group of a local north Raleigh cycling group / club.  The only person from that group / club that actually showed for their 10:00 start was substitute leader Ken.  We took him along with us.

So we rolled out 10 strong:  Snapper, Lt. Dave, Lee, Robert, Levi, Scott, Dennis, randonneuse Lynn, come-along Ken, and meSmitty had called me around 9 to let me know that he wouldn't make the ride ... he didn't have to tell me why ... he sounded TERRIBLE.  Wimps IvaHawk and Tito had e-mailed to inform that their old bodies couldn't handle a blustery day, so they were running at 9 in Umstead, and then taking in the roundball game over Chapel Hill way.  Hmmn.  Iva didn't mention whether they were catching the game on TV or in person; since he has season tickets, and it was an ACC game, I suspect they went to Dean's Temple to catch the game in person. 

Early Proceedings

I was near the back on Old Creedmoor Rd when I decided the pace was not quite adequate to warm-up my muscles AND pump enough warm blood through various body parts.  I passed almost the entire line, overhearing comments "there he goes for the county line", to pick up the pace 1 or 2 miles per hour (16-17 vs. 14-15 is noticeable).  Snapper caught me before the CL, but didn't actually pull even ... then he commented "they're saying you moved to get the CL, but I heard you comment before you made your move that we needed a slightly higher pace."  Harvey settled in front to pull the line at a good warm-up pace ... besides ... he makes a better wind-break than I do.

Come-along Ken had been riding along at the end of the line ... a reasonable thing when one does not know anyone with whom one is riding ... and he may have been concerned we might be a bit too fast for him.  Anyway, somewhere early-ish on Carpenter Pond, Ken comes up to the front to let Harvey know that he has dropped two riders.  Ken then proceeded to drop back to the end of the line.  I pulled out of line to find out what was up / who had dropped off -- concerned that maybe Lynn's bad knees had already waylaid her.  When I first pulled out of the line, I had asked who had been dropped; "Lynn" was the only name mentioned.  I drifted back about two more riders and found Lynn ... so she hadn't dropped off the back.  Shortly after drifting from alongside Lynn, someone (perhaps Lt. Dave) mentioned that it was Levi and Scott.  At almost that same moment, I had drifted back far enough back to independently confirm that it was Levi and Scott.  "Oh," said I, "in that case, I'm not going to worry about it ... they can easily catch up."

A minute or two later, Scott pulled alongside me to report that "Levi tweaked his back a couple days ago, and he can barely soft-pedal.  He has already turned around, and I'm going to go back to the car with him.  See you another day."  No more youngsters.

We Settled Into a Nice Pace

We settled into a nice pace in the sunshine on the rest of CP, then Leesville and Doc Nichols and Olive Branch roads; also NC-98 and onto Patterson Rd.  Then ...

The Ride Changed !  

We got hit with the increased wind about 15 miles into the ride ... just after we rode out of the sunshine and beneath dark clouds. 

A minute or two after the stronger wind started, there were white flakes in the air ... just a few. 

I got gapped on the last small hill on Patterson (it used to be a bigger hill, but is now barely noticeable on the Byron torture fest scenic route known as Hill-Hill-Hill).  Everyone was regrouping at Plainview Church just after the turn onto Cheek Rd. 

Harvey mentioned we were crazy riding in the snow.  I said "this doesn't qualify as snow."  Harvey lambasted my northern roots.  But I was busy checking with local randonneuse Lynn because I had been pushed sideways by the wind while still on Patterson; I knew she would NOT be liking the wind.  She was definitely in "I hate crosswinds; I can't ride in crosswinds" mode ... disadvantage of growing up in almost-never-any-wind-Raleigh AND weighing almost nothing. 

We stopped to wait after climbing from the lake back up to the plain ... waiting for Lt. Dave, who had stopped to admire the winter flora ... and to discuss the wind situation.  Lynn wanted to head back via the shortest route.  Harvey was of similar mind.  When Harvey started to express confusion about how to navigate the three right turns onto Old Weaver Trail to New Light Rd to Pleasant Union Ch Rd, I told him "don't worry; Lynn knows the way; she'll guide you to PUE."  (I didn't ask, but should have, how it can be that Harvey has ridden 'round the lake so many times, but still not know the way.)  By the time we completed the 2 flat miles (filled with more cross-winds) across Boyce Rd to get to Old Weaver Trail, EVERYONE was all for shorting the planned 47-mile route.  The modified plan was to essentially ride the "Basic IR Falls Lake Loop" (simple Lake Loop map with profile), but given the gusty conditions, we decided to skip the little de tour / side-loop onto Stool Tree, Northside and Cash Rd.  (Not being on a rando ride has advantages.)

After the turn onto Old Weaver Trail (TAILWIND), the few snow flakes in the air became a serious flurry (unfortunately, no one had a camera, and no one wanted to take out their phones to take a photo, either).  Harvey, born and raised in Raleigh of long-time North Carolina families, described it as a "white-out".  I suspect he has never seen a real "white-out" ... you can't see anything more than a few yards away, sometimes a few feet, in a real "white-out". 

We broke up on the ride in (some of us (me) don't climb very fast, and at least one likes to back off in cross-winds because she is concerned about taking others down if she should fall, and she's also concerned that someone else might take her down if the wind suddenly pushes them where they weren't intending).  The lead group probably should have slowed a pedal stroke, and kept everyone together.  I arrived back to PUE with Harvey in bright sunshine to find new RUSA member Rapid Robert augmenting his shorted mileage by riding circles around the PUE parkiing lot.  There was little wind. 


Blustery conditions continued throughout the rest of the day and currently show no signs of backing off.  About 20-30 minutes after I finished my ride, the snow really came down hard for several minutes.  Still not "white-out" conditions though.  I think we made the correct decision when we shorted the ride.

Strongest winds I've probably ever ridden in.  Certainly the strongest winds in Winter.  First time I've ridden during a snow.  First time it has snowed during an "Irregulars" ride.

During the ride, I overheard Lee comment that he was bookending 2010 and 2011 with consecutive "bad rides."  On the 31st, a large black dog and a German Shephard had come bounding out when he, LT, and Robert had been going up a steep climb over on Ball Rd near Bahama (NC, not the islands east of Florida).  Net result:  the black dog raked his paw over Lee's thigh ... calf ... (?), put two puncture holes into him ("looked like a snake bite") and ripped open an ugly gash exposing pulsating muscle.  That was 2010.  Today, 2011, was strong winds and snow.  I think he preferred today.

I am very glad I am not riding Tony's Salisbury 200 km brevet today.

Although my feet got quite cold after the WIND began to blow, I think it was a great ADVENTURE.  And after all, the name of this blog is Irregular Velo Adventures.

PUE - modified "IR Falls Lake Loop"; 36.2 m.; 2 hrs, 19 min in-motion; 15.6 mph. 

Jan tot: __2 rides; __161.3 m.; _10 hrs, 35 min; 15.2 mph.
YTD tot: __2 rides; __161.3 m.; _10 hrs, 35 min; 15.2 mph.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jan-01: Tar Heel 200 km Permanent

Dean Gets R-48!
John O Begins 2011 Assault.
Fearless Leader Alan demonstrates discretion.
I get my first Jan-01 ride since 2005.

Gathering just before 7 am, Dean, John O and I were just trying to get a good start on the year.  Alan was going for a "kinder, gentler 400" as the ride would make his second Tar Heel in as many days.  Morning temps were moderate, although there was still quite a bit of snow piled in ditches and shady spots.  Morning breeze was not noticeable. 

I had thought John O would be going for back-to-back Tar Heel rides with Alan.  I thought that would be good because John might be a bit slower than usual.  However, he informed that he had decided to skip the ride on the 31st, but also claimed he had ridden nothing of consequence since a Whirligig ride four weeks earlier. 

So that defined our starting crew: 
 _ John claiming to be out of shape;
 _ Dean claiming to be out of shape;
 _ Alan, our 400k man;
 _ Me, hoping I was mostly over a cold. 

Not too long after the ride began, Alan changed his plan.  I have tried several ways of trying to be clever, but I can't come up with anything that looks and reads "clever" or "humorous" after I read what I've written.  So ... I'll just write it as follows.  Alan decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and turned back.  One of these days, I expect I'll get to ride an entire ride with Alan when he hasn't spent the entire previous day walking around the NC State Fair or doing a Permanent.  And maybe I'll be the one struggling, and I'll finally get to hear some of the many stories of previous brevets and permanents in Alan's war-chest. 

John, Dean and I pedaled on through the cool air on the damp roads.  Not too fast, though.  After all, each of was claiming to be a bit under-trained or dealing with residual health issues.  We got to the Strickland Marathon about 10 minutes later than previous rides.  We judged that pretty good, considering.

I decided to get a biggish breakfast:  biscuit with gravy, scrambled eggs, a big sausage link.  Stick to your rids food.  Dean was next after me in the food line; I heard him order grits; I didn't hear what he ordered to go with the grits.  Grits!  I think John did not eat "breakfast".  We were back on the bikes at 10 am ... 20 minutes after we stopped. 

Cautious pacing continued.  We were somewhere near Cedar Creek when the southwesterly wind made its appearance.  Our pace was cut considerably.  My confuser had indicated 14.9 mph avg pace at Strickland's; the avg pace was down to 14.3 mph when we reached Tar Heel at 12:05 pm.  (Side note, on Dec-22, Dean and I had LEFT Tar Heel at 12:05.  However, on the 22nd, we had a headwind once we got north of Strickland's on the return leg.)

John headed for the Subway to eat lunch.  Dean and I grabbed quick eats/drinks at the gas station / convenience store.  Dean and I were beside our bikes at 12:22 when we saw John hurry past.  We tried to attract his attention with a wave.  We probably should have shouted.  But ... for the first time all day, John looked like himself on the bike -- he looked quite comfortable with his patented high cadence.  It would have been a shame to stop him. 

John appeared to think that Dean and I had done a really quick turn-around stop and that we were already miles up the road.  Dean checked with the clerks at the controls during the homebound 100k; the clerks confirmed that he asked for / about us at Strickland's and in Erwin.  He never did "catch" us.  Instead, we were able to intermittently follow his tire tracks most of the way back on the mixed damp and dry roads. 

Dean and I were delayed leaving Tar Heel for a few extra minutes because while removing some clothing, I ended up with a wardrobe malfuntion -- no, no, nothing similar to Janice Jackson at the Super Bowl a few years ago -- just that when I had removed a base jersey layer, I had lowered the "suspenders" of my bibs, and then failed to put them back up BEFORE putting my outer jersey and windvest back on.  So ... I had to strip off again, put the bib strap/suspenders in their proper place, and put jersey, etc. back on.  We left Tar Heel at about 12:30 pm. 

However, we were secure in the knowledge that we would have a helpful tailwind almost every centimeter of the homebound trip. 

We arrived at Strickland's at about 2:30 (some 25 minutes behind our Dec-22nd ride), but were officially registered at the Erwin contol at 4:05 (which was the time we had left Erwin on the 22nd).  We left the Erwin control before 4:10 with me hoping that maybe we could still catch a 5 pm finish (my cold symptoms were diminishing and my legs and butt felt great).  Of course, hopes were dashed while still in Erwin:  although we caught the light at the control on green, the light at the big intersection in Erwin was red, and red, and red, and red, and still red.  Finally, we were underway again. 

Leaving Dunn, I had the scent of the barn now only about 10 miles away.  Dean was in the rear, using his gazonk-a-zonk taillights on overtaking auto traffic.  I was up front, still thinking about 5 pm, and thinking more about how there had been so very little traffic all day, the "New Year resolution" runners and walkers we had seen, and most importantly, the lack of annoying dogs  the whole day.  I also think I was thinking about deeper issues, but I don't actually recall bacause I kind of zoned out.  I came to just before reaching "RoscoeLand", and realized that Dean was not just behind me, but had fallen back.  I didn't slow for that, but I did slow significantly when Roscoe came out to play.  I unclipped my left foot and was prepared to administer Roscoe a more serious "life-lesson" than I administered a couple months ago; however, Roscoe veered off once he saw my left foot move clear of the pedal; we repeated the dance a couple more times.  I hoped that Dean would have his "Halt!" ready.  I didn't get a clear picture of Dean's encounter with Roscoe and Roscoe's "mom", but I'm pretty sure Dean was not able to administer any "Halt!".

A quarter-mile after Roscoe, just at the turn off Old Fairgrounds Rd, the dog on the corner decided to be a pest.  At least that owner seemed at least mildly displeased with the dog.  Wish they would try actual training.

The ride finished without futher incident.  I got off my bike at 5:05 pm; it was 5:08 when I got my receipt and my card signed.  Homebound tailwinds are an excellent ally.

Although the above is a boring ride report ... it was a great day for a ride with good company.  We had a great ride.

I got in my first ride on Jan-1st since 2005.
John got a good jump on his 2011 goal.  (He mentioned what it is, but it is not my place to "spill the beans".)
Dean got his R-48.

Tar Heel 200 Permanent; 125.1 m.; 8 hrs, 16 min in-motion; 15.1 mph; rando time: 10 hrs, 8 min elapsed clock time. 

Jan tot: __1 rides; __125.1 m.; __8 hrs, 16 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: __1 rides; __125.1 m.; __8 hrs, 16 min; 15.1 mph.
Meanwhile, Some Irregulars Played on Some Hills and With A "Cow"?


Four of us rode today ushering in the New Year.  Tito, Wendy, Gary, and I had a nice ride leaving from Ravenstone Plaza doing the Johnson Mill, Rougemont, Range Road, Butner, Will Suitt route.  [route map, Iva's actual route skipped approx the first 11 and last 11 miles]  What a nice and difficult route.  I don't think I've done it before.  [Iva's memory has apparently blocked out certain things from the past.]  We were slow and stopped for long periods.  61 miles took us 5 and 1/2 hours to complete.  It started cold and then warmed (well, warm is not the right word).  Cool and dank is a good description.  I couldn't decide if it was perfect riding weather or a bit too cool and damp.

The scenery along Johnson Mill, Lowell, and Hopkins was spectacular.  We overtook three cyclists on McBroom.  Gary made contact with more potential customers because we rode with them up to McKee.

On Hampton Rd, we stopped to take some photos of a bull, which I later learned was a cow. 

One of the locals rode up on his ATV straight off the set of Deliverance.  You won't be surprised to learn that Tito found him interesting. 

Tito described it best today.  He said he felt like a rhinoceros trying to ride a bike.  I felt like an out of shape rhino trying to ride a bike.  But, anyway, we had a big time.  It was a good way to start the new year.

Some conversation followed receipt of the immediately above "Irregular" ride report:

Me:  I don't understand why Tito should feel like a rhino, or you should feel like an out-of-shape rhino.  Each of you got in more exercise in December than I did, and neither of you had a head cold the last week.  I must be failing to comprehend something. :-}

Iva:  It was just it was just so hard to turn the cranks.

Me:  Perhaps you should have tried using the 39 for awhile instead of the 53.  Or a cog with more than 11 or 12 teeth.

Iva:  I can never remember whether the easy gear is big crank - little cog or little crank - big cog.